Our Building and the History of St. James

St. James Episcopal Church has the second-oldest church building in downtown Wooster, just one block north of the Square in the center of town. We treasure our location at the city’s heart and continue to try our best to serve the needs of those who live and work there, including the city’s homeless people.

The History of St. James Church

The first Episcopal service was held in Wooster, OH in 1833 in the courthouse. The parish of St. James was organized in 1840 and their first church building, built on South Street on land donated by James Bowman, opened with a Christmas Day service in 1841. After a fire destroyed the original church, construction of the building on the corner of North and Market Streets began in 1860 and the first service was held in the sanctuary in November of that year. The current church building was built in three phases, culminating in a massive expansion of the parish hall in 2018.  Throughout its history, the parishioners of St. James have gathered as a community of believers to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Episcopal tradition and to serve the people of the surrounding area.  

St. Nicholas Hall

 

In 2017, St. James committed to an ambitious $1.5 million expansion and renovation of our parish hall. The goal of the the project was to increase the size and functionality of our parish hall and kitchen to allow us to more easily host parish events and to facilitate greater outreach into our community.  We now have appropriate meeting spaces for groups of all sizes and we open our building to use by any non-profit free of charge.  Two other benefits of the renovation were consolidation of our office space into the main church building and the installation of an elevator to make all areas of the building, including the 3rd floor choir room and classrooms, handicap accessible. The new parish hall is named for St. Nicholas of Myra.

Stained Glass Windows

One of the most striking features of the beautiful St. James sanctuary is the stained glass. St. James is home to twelve stained glass windows that artfully depict the life of Jesus while bringing light and color into the sanctuary. The windows were built by Franz Mayer & Co., Munich Germany, and were ordered through the Russell Church Supply of Winston-Salem, NC. The Rose Window above the altar and the eight windows in the sanctuary depicting the Annunciation through the Ascension were installed in 1954. The towering "Christ the King" window in the narthex and the two windows in the towers were installed a few years later.